On April 11th 2018, I got it into my head to start looking into the next segment of my solo trip. Not the one that was to take place in a few weeks, but the one taking place in 2019, when I would broach the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness. Ambrose said it would be 100 miles to get to Big Creek, and I wanted to make sure that was from the farthest point I could reach by car to Big Creek, rather than from, say, where I left off at Stanley Lake in 2016.
I used the ICT trail maps to make the count. From Lola Creek Campground, which is the farthest a car can reach towards the Frank Church, to the point nearest Big Creek was about 88 miles.
And from there to the Big Creek trailhead was 14.6 miles.
My first thought was, “That’s ridiculous.”
My second thought was, “I wonder how far it is from that point on the ICT to the next place it meets the road.”
So I checked. It’s about another 81 miles to the Magruder corridor.
That left me with a choice. Travel 100+ miles in 2019 and then another nearly 100 miles in 2020, traversing nearly 30 miles of non-ICT trail in the process.
Or take all 169 miles in one big bite in 2019.
For that second option, I would need the cooperation of my husband. He usually just serves as resupply depot from the car on these trips, but for this trip to work, I’d either need to carry 10 days of food or get him to hike out 14.6 miles from Big Creek with my resupply (and of course he’d have to hike back and drive around to Magruder).
Lucky for me, he’s excited to have his own little solo adventure doing that resupply hike. I just hope he can make that hike out and back in 2 days. Luckily, there’s not even 1000 feet of gain, so he should be good. He’s just got to get started early and keep on walking.
And I figure if I arrive at the rendezvous early, then I can take some rest. Dip my feet in the water. If I’m a day early, then I get a zero day, a tradition of thru hiking that I’ve only read about so far.
I’ll need to go as fast as I can sustain. I can’t go for maximum distance each day like I did through the Owyhees. That wrecked me. But I’ll still need to make close to 20 miles per day through rough terrain. I mean, sure, I could bail when I meet up with Ambrose for resupply, but that’s a costly bail.
I’m not sure what I’ll do about my hair. No matter what I’ve tried, if I don’t wash my hair every three to four days, I get horrible headaches. I might experiment with dry shampoo and see if that helps, because that would be easy to take out on the trail. But I have a feeling it might not, because I don’t see how adding stuff to my hair could possibly help without rinsing it away. So maybe Ambrose will have some shampoo in his resupply kit for me and I’ll make myself take the time to do it to get rest. Yeah.
As long as I get all the miles that I’m planning to get in 2018 (Hammett to Willow Creek Transfer Camp and Stanley Lake to Lola Creek Campground), and then if I can swing this crazy trip in 2019, I’ll be at mile 424. Nearly halfway through the 900 miles of the ICT.
I’m already excited.